If you’re getting sick of your iPod playlist and the familiar bodegas and restaurants you pass every day as you hit the pavement, there’s another way to experience running in New York City—a guided running tour of iconic neighborhoods and landmarks.
City Running Tours, which operates in seven major cities from Boston to San Francisco, offers personalized or group tours of neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, many of which end with discounted shopping at JackRabbit Sports or a free beer at the Brooklyn Brewery.
And they’re not just for marathoners in from out of town. “It was great,” Elden Bennett, a Brooklynite, wrote on the company’s Facebook wall. “I got to experience parts of the city that I thought I knew in a whole new light.”
While a tour may take you to highly trafficked spots such as Washington Square Park, Museum Mile, or the Highline, they also hit more obscure attractions like the former site of Ebbet’s Field and Al Capone’s childhood home. Or you can tell them what you want to see, and they’ll personalize it for you.
“We can show people the popular sights,” says Michael Gazaleh, who manages the New York City branch. “But we can also give them a really unique perspective of the city and share the off-the-beaten path culture and urban myths that only a local would know.”
Each route is approximately five miles, and the pace (which varies with the group) is about a ten-minute mile, with designated stops along the way. Groups range from 4-20 runners. “We get a nice mix of both locals and tourists,” says Gazaleh. “These runs are designed for all runners.”
It certainly sounds better than treadmill music videos to me. —Lisa Elaine Held
City Running Tours, www.cityrunningtours.com. Group runs are $20-25; personalized runs are $60 per person for the first 6 miles (discounts for groups of more than four people)